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Showing posts from May, 2019

The Bald Soprano

The Bald Soprano is an absurdist play by the Roumanian -French playwright Eugene Ionesco. Written in 1948, in French, it has been in constant production around the world, and holds the record as the play with the longest continuous run in the same theatre: it has been permanently showing at the Theatre de la Huchette in Paris since 1957. It is currently being staged by the Arcade Theatre in Dunedin, and I saw it last night. Ionesco himself referred to it as an "anti play" and it does defy all the expectations of conventional theatre: plot, character development, narrative tension, all that stuff, are fairly minimal. Instead it parodies the elements of bourgeois play writing and relies for its very real holding power on a witty, surprising and sometimes outrageous script. So, all the things which you might to expect to happen in a drawing room drama are present:  two bickering couples each with their share of secrets and ambiguities; a bizarre series of coincidences; a st


I take a lot of photographs. The ones I now regard as second best are better than the ones I thought were best a year ago, but they sit on my hard drive and nobody sees them, which kind of nullifies one of the purposes of taking them. So, from time to time I think I'll have a little clean out and dump a few on here - just the ones that I kind of like, but have no real use for. And lately I seem to have a lot of spare duck photos. Here are a few of them. The photos are best at full size - just click on the picture. And, like all pictures on here, you're welcome to use them, with acknowledgement, for any non profit purpose.  A common or garden variety mallard. A young female ... and a young male  A New Zealand Scaup swimming past the mallard family  A young male paradise duck  I really like this photo of a New Zealand scaup. I like the inquisitorial eye sussing me out.  A female paradise duck taking out an unnecessary feather And the same


There's something I don't quite get: why would anybody pay good money for a treadmill when there's a perfectly good footpath just outside their front door? I guess there are some perceived advantages to staying nice and safe and cosy inside your house while you walk, but there are great disadvantages too. Namely, that it is nice and safe and cosy. We walk out of our little street, turn left and head up the hill. There is a bit of a wind from the South and the sky is threatening rain.  At the dirt path on Highcliff Road we begin the gut busting slog up steps which are never in quite the right place, and stop halfway up on the pretext of taking in the view. The hills shield the harbour from the wind so the water is silvery and still. "Look at where we live", she says. I take a picture. I can't hope to capture the grandeur of what lies just past our place, but I try. We walk on and down the other side with my thigh muscles asking what the heck do I think I'


It's a simple enough shot. The pier with its converging parallel lines leads the eye out towards the straight horizontal of the horizon. The hard, artificial edges  complement the soft, billowy shapes of the clouds and their reflections. There is a kind of solidity in the wharf which accentuates the plasticity of the still water. I know, the horizon might have been a bit lower, but I was really after those reflections. It's a shot I like, but I know it's a cliche. A minute or two on Google and you'll find a hundred, maybe a thousand like it. Wharf. Still water. Horizon line. Yada, yada, yada. Yep. Seen it all before.I knew it wasn't very original before I pressed the button, and I guess that's kind of the point. Cliches (visual, or linguistic, or musical or culinary or architectural or theological...) get repeated because they work, and when I am trying to capture the stillness and colours and warmth of a New South Wales sunrise, I know this composition wi

1/640 of a Second

Yesterday I spent about half an hour down the road at the inlet with my camera. I then spent maybe 2 hours at my computer looking at and processing the light I had gathered. Down by the waterside, I was looking through a window approximately 1 cm square, down a long metal and glass tube at a bird which was about 12 metres away and moving quickly, so until I got the picture up on the screen I didn't know exactly what I had captured. I knew what I hoped to get: the beauty of these ungainly birds and the stillness of the late morning and the constantly changing web of life into which the fish and the spoonbills and the mud and the water constantly weave themselves. But it was only later that I could see the shapes and textures of the feathers,and the way the bird and its reflection formed an oval, interlocking with the ring on the surface of the water, and the subtle vertical lines of the falling droplets. So I trimmed the image, emphasising shape and form, cutting out the things


I saw my spiritual director today. There were some significant things I wanted to share with him, and hoped he would help me find the voice of God. I wasn't disappointed. We talked about my photography as prayer: as a way of seeing the immeasurable beauty and diversity and inventiveness and elegance and irrepressible energy of the Universe, and of communicating something of that. Visual prayers. I left John's place grateful for being able to articulate a little better something which is taking up an increasing proportion of my life. On the way home I noticed that the tide was still low enough for the spoonbills to be feeding, so parked my car beside the Marne St. Hospital and walked along the shore of the Anderson's Bay Inlet. I have been watching a small colony of spoonbills there for some months, and although most had eaten their fill of mollusks and cockabullies and flounders, the adolescent female was still looking for a few morsels before the tide got higher. I